Freight agents are property brokers who work for transportation departments. A freight agent is a licensed professional who allows a shipper and motor carrier to successfully transport freight or cargo. Requirements for freight agent jobs include a broker authority, which includes the Form OP-1 and a $300 US Dollars (USD) fee, a surety bond or trust fund, obtained from a bank with a varying fee, along with a BMC-84 or BMC-85 form, and a processing agent, with a BOC-3 form and about $50 USD.
Many freight agents are inactive for much of the time, as the scope of work depends largely on transportation schedules. A benefit of this is that freight agent jobs can mostly be done from home, as long as the freight broker has a computer with Internet access, a fax machine, telephone service with unlimited long-distance calling and a transportation software program. As freight broker agent jobs are taken on at the discretion of the agent, the possibility for earnings is based on the motivation of the agent, how much time and resources he or she is willing to devote to the industry, and how many clients can be found. Helpful resources for finding clients include the Internet and written publications.
Freight agent jobs require experience, which can be obtained by completing a course that usually takes about six months, although they are self-paced, and more time can be taken if needed. A certificate is awarded to the freight broker upon completion of the course with a passing grade of 70 percent or higher, which proves that he or she is certified to perform a freight agent job. Although most freight agent schools do not provide direct job placement, freight agent job advice is provided, and instructors will usually agree to be relied upon as references for those seeking entry-level freight agent jobs.
Before deciding what type of freight broker job to pursue, freight agents should research the industry and the different types of freight agent jobs. Duties of a freight or cargo agent include coordinating incoming and outgoing shipments of planes, trains or trucks. Planning a shipment’s route and preparing documentation for the route, including all necessary paperwork, are also part of a freight agent’s job. The agents must keep detailed records of the cargo and note any missing or damaged items. Freight agent jobs take place in warehouses, stockrooms, shipping rooms, docks and platforms, and work can include strenuous physical labor.